Rockwood approves new late-start schedule for high school students
By: Carol Enright
Rockwood high-school students will get to sleep in a little longer on 16 late-start Mondays next year. The Board of Education approved at its Dec. 20 meeting a new late-start schedule for its high schools in the 2013-2014 school year to allow time for the district’s Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) – teachers who teach the same subject areas – to meet and share best practices.
Currently, the high schools have nine late-start Mondays on which classes start at 8:40 a.m., instead of the usual 8:16 a.m. Classes are adjusted so that they meet according their regular schedule, and bus transportation is unchanged so that students get to school at the normal time and are supervised by school staff until classes start.
The new late-start schedule will feature 16 late-start days, which will occur approximately every other Monday during the school year, except for the month of May. On these days, classes will begin at 9:46 a.m., allowing the PLCs to meet for 90 minutes. The eight early dismissal days, which are currently in place at the high-school level, will be eliminated.
In a presentation to the Board on Dec. 6, Jim Wipke, Rockwood’s executive director of secondary education, said the new schedule offers several advantages, including: increased frequency for teachers to meet with their PLCs; time for teachers to travel to other schools, if necessary, to meet with colleagues; and the elimination of early dismissal days, which currently create a compressed schedule that allows for only 21-minute classes during the day. Under the new late-start schedule, each of a student’s classes would meet for 34 minutes.
Bus schedules will be changed on late-start days to allow students to arrive at their schools later, increasing the district’s transportation costs by an estimated $75,000.
Rockwood parent, Tracy Alter, served on the committee that put together the late-start schedule. She said the reaction from parents has been positive and that the parents she has spoken to feel that their children are “just not getting any learning done” on early dismissal days.
“Mostly, I think the parents were definitely happy that if we did eliminate the half days, they would get a lot more time and education,” Alter said.